The literature on leadership is vast, much of it written by authors with for-profit corporate experience. Author Nathalie White, however, comes from a background in public service. In this slim book, she presents her model for leadership and professional success based on 30 years of such experience.
Aiming at a readership in both public and private sectors, White discusses the three intersecting domains of clients, employees, and the overall organization. In each of these areas, she presents management principles and practices with particular attention on process improvement, influenced by leadership experts Michael Hammer and Joseph Juran, and Total Quality Management sage Joseph Kélada. For example, in her chapter on metrics, she provides a table for managers to ensure that the measures they use are easy to apply and serve their intended purpose. In an interesting metaphor, she uses hockey to explain how a larger task can be divided into actions that fall into “value-added,” “non-value added” and “waste” categories.
White depicts her leadership model using a diagram based on an atom, with her three domains as the electrons orbiting a nucleus consisting of “trust” and “goals,” suggesting these elements are central to good leadership.
The author has wisdom to impart in the areas of management and leadership. Generosity, warmth, and commitment shine through her prose. However, the book is also sometimes confusing and vague. An obvious example is the title, which is too broad. A book with White’s title could be about any number of topics. More specificity and focus overall would have been welcome.
Additionally, the atom-like icon she uses to represent her model is too complex and dependent on cryptic jargon (“13 Factors”) to grasp visually.
White is a senior leader with a wealth of knowledge to impart to other professionals, especially those in larger organizations. She has developed detailed methods and clearly wants to help readers. However, her ideas need a simpler, more focused approach to have the impact she wishes.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.